New Real Madrid signing Gareth Bale joined team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and holder Lionel Messi on the Ballon D’Or shortlist Tuesday to decide the best footballer of 2013.
Wales winger Bale was one of 23 nominees that included Bayern Munich’s France international Franck Ribery, Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Manchester United forward Robin van Persie.
Messi has won the last four editions of the award with Ronaldo triumphing in 2008.
Those two and winger Ribery, whose club side won the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup last season, are widely considered the leading candidates for the trophy.
Bayern are the most represented club in the list with six nominees.
The German league has the most nominations with seven — Borussia Dortmund’s Poland forward Robert Lewandowski joining the Bayern contingent — followed by Spain with six, England five, France four and Italy one in the figure of Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo.
No-one playing their club football outside Europe got picked.
Players from 15 different nationalities were nominated with Germany — who have five including Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil — the only country to have more than two.
Manchester City’s Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure, the current African player of the year, was the only footballer outside Europe and South America to be nominated.
Now retied former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is on the coaches list, although another retiree Jupp Heynckes, who led Bayern to their treble, is expected to triumph in that category.
The winners will be announced on January 14 after a vote by coaches and trainers of national teams as well as selected journalists
Ballon D’Or nominees:
Gareth Bale (WAL/Real Madrid/ESP), Edinson Cavani (URU/Paris Sain-Germain/FRA), Radamel Falcao (COL/Monaco/FRA), Eden Hazard (BEL/Chelsea/ENG), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (SWE/Paris SG/FRA), Andres Iniesta (ESP/Barcelona), Philipp Lahm (GER/Bayern Munich), Robert Lewandowski (POL/Borussia Dortmund/GER), Lionel Messi (ARG/Barcelona/ESP), Thomas Mueller (GER/Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (GER/Bayern Munich), Neymar (BRA/Barcelona/ESP), Mesut Ozil (GER/Arsenal/ENG), Andrea Pirlo (ITA/Juventus), Franck Ribery (FRA/Bayern Munich/GER), Arjen Robben (NED/Bayern Munich/GER), Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Real Madrid/ESP), Bastian Schweinsteiger (GER/Bayern Munich), Luis Suarez (URU/Liverpool/ENG), Thiago Silva (BRA/Paris SG/FRA), Yaya Toure (CIV/Manchester City/ENG), Robin Van Persie (NED/Manchester United/ENG), Xavi (ESP/Barcelona)
Coach of the Year 2013 nominees:
Carlo Ancelotti (ITA/Paris Saint-Germain/FRA then Real Madrid/ESP), Rafael Benitez (ESP/Chelsea/ENG then Napoli/ITA), Antonio Conte (ITA/Juventus), Vicente Del Bosque (ESP/Spain), Sir Alex Ferguson (SCO/Manchester United/ENG now retired), Jupp Heynckes (GER/Bayern Munich now retired), Juergen Klopp (GER/Borussia Dortmund), Jose Mourinho (POR/Real Madrid/ESP now Chelsea/ENG), Luiz Felipe Scolari (BRA/Brazil), Arsene Wenger (FRA/Arsenal/ENG)